DAILY DIGEST, 5/21: Money for water debt may be available but can CA get it to those in need?; Delta Counties Coalition goes to bat for the Delta Independent Science Board; Natural Resources Undersecretary talks about multi-benefit infrastructure investments; Congress’s stealth water infrastructure deal; and more …
PUBLIC HEARING/MEETING: Delta Stewardship Council Lookout Slough Appeal; Regular monthly meeting beginning at 9am.The Delta Stewardship Council will continue the public hearing from Thursday regarding the appeals of the certification of consistency submitted by the California Department of Water Resources regarding the Lookout Slough Tidal Habitat Restoration and Flood Improvement Project with councilmember questions and public comment. Afterwards, the Council will hold their regular meeting. Agenda items include the Delta Lead Scientist’s report, an update on the Delta Levee Investment Strategy, and an update on the Delta Independent Science Board. Click here for the agenda and remote access instructions.
WORKSHOP: Water Unavailability Methodology for the Delta Watershed from 9am to 5pm. State Water Resources Control Board staff are holding a workshop to receive public input on the proposed methodology for determining water unavailability in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Delta Watershed.Click here for the full meeting notice.
FREE WEBINAR: California Water Data Consortium: Data for Lunch w/ We All Count from 12pm to 1:30pm. Heather Krause will be speaking about We All Count’s Data Equity Framework. When it comes to equity in data science projects, trying to find all the ways that bias, assumptions, unfairness and prejudice can sneak in may feel overwhelming. Trying to look at a whole project and see all the equity weaknesses and issues is almost impossible. We All Count has developed: The Data Equity Framework to support equitable data decisions. Click here to register.
FREE WEBINAR: Eel River: How Watersheds Work and Flow Changes Over Time from 5pm to 6pm. Zoom in to find out how flows have changed over time and consider hypotheses that explain the patterns. Why are some reaches of the river “losing streams” when they used to be “gaining”? Why would Bull Creek in Humboldt Redwoods State Park have half the flow of 1950, when there is no development or diversions and few residents? Click here to register.
In other California water news today …
Money for water debt may be available but can California get it to those in need?
“As pandemic restrictions begin to ease in California, a race is on to get money in place to help with massive and growing household water debt before the statewide moratorium on shutoffs for non-payment is lifted. Some observers are looking at June 15, when Gov. Newsom said he’ll lift the state’s mask mandate, as a potential date for release from other COVID-19 mandates, including the water shutoff moratorium. That’s also the deadline for lawmakers to pass the state budget, in which Newsom recently injected $1 billion to help pay overdue water bills. … ” Read more from SJV Water here: Money for water debt may be available but can California get it to those in need?
Delta Counties Coalition goes to bat for the Delta Independent Science Board
The Delta Counties Coalition has sent a letter to Governor Newsom in support of funding the Delta Independent Science Board. They write, “The Delta faces unprecedented challenges from climate change, which can worsen water quality and habitat conditions, and cause sea level rise and more frequent flooding. In addition, water supply, flood management and restoration projects have direct impacts on the health of the estuary and the many stakeholders that depend on it. To meet these challenges, it is critical that best available, independent science help guide actions in the Delta. Two decades ago, California agencies joined federal agencies in the signing of CALFED Record of Decision, which committed to a world class Delta science program. A key part of that commitment was to establish an Independent Science Board to provide oversight and peer review of ecosystem restoration, water supply reliability, water use efficiency and conservation, water quality, and flood management in the Delta. … Oversight by the nationally prominent scientists on the DISB has never been more critical … ”
Click here to read the letter from the Delta Counties Coalition.
Snow, thunderstorms and rain continue through the weekend as a late spring storm rolls through California
“It’s no drought buster but after a long stretch of dry weather, wet weather returns to Northern California. A late spring storm started bringing rain and snow early Thursday. The low-pressure system will continue to move south through the weekend with active weather through Saturday and possibly a few lingering showers Sunday. The biggest impact will be in the Sierra with a Winter Weather Advisory in place through Thursday. 1-12 inches of snow is possible on some mountain passes. Ebbetts and Sonora passes were closed ahead of this cold spring storm. Caltrans is suggesting anyone traveling through the Sierra check for updated road conditions. Snow is possible down to near 4500 feet. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: Snow, thunderstorms and rain continue through the weekend as a late spring storm rolls through California
Unusual May snowstorm could be a preview of what’s to come
“A windy May snowstorm that started Wednesday afternoon will continue to produce snow, high winds and cold conditions across the region into the first part of the weekend. Initially, the storm started as rain before it changed to snow across most of Montana Thursday. Farther south, showers and thunderstorms spread across the Sierra Nevada and the Four Corners region. Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories were in effect early Friday morning across western Montana and northern Idaho, and the Montana Department of Transportation reported severe driving conditions on Route 3. … ” Continue reading at AccuWeather here: Unusual May snowstorm could be a preview of what’s to come
Delta Cross Channel to remain closed until further notice
From the Bureau of Reclamation: “The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that ongoing drought conditions require the Delta Cross Channel gates to remain closed until further notice to help maintain water quality standards. Typically, the gates are opened on weekends for recreational purposes from May 21 through June, as well as holiday weekends. The gates control the diversion channel near Walnut Grove, about 30 miles south of Sacramento. Keeping the gates closed under current drought conditions targets improving water quality in the Sacramento River channel. Updates on gate openings and closures are available at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/cvo/vungvari/dcc_chng.pdf; learn more about the Delta Cross Channel gate operations at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/mpr-news/docs/factsheets/delta-cross-channel.pdf.”
‘The Time is Now’: Natural Resources Undersecretary Angela Barranco on multi-benefit infrastructure investments
“Ahead of her keynote address at USGBC-LA’s 20th annual Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo, TPR interviewed Angela Barranco, undersecretary at the California Natural Resources Agency to share how California, and especially Los Angeles, is leveraging resources to maximize state and federal investments in local climate resilience and multi-benefit infrastructure. … Prior to your appointment to the Natural Resources Agency, you were Chief Executive Officer of River LA. Elaborate on the challenges of the River’s water infrastructure; and, on how your advocacy impacts the way you now both frame water issues and prioritize your work? I entered my experience at the LA River in a more traditional space doing some great environmental work with the community. After spending almost three years thinking through that problem, I emerged as a very different advocate in some ways for the project. I really saw it as an opportunity to knit this mosaic of communities together through infrastructure and environment while being respectful of the community input that needed to be a part of it. … ” Read the full interview here: ‘The Time is Now’: Natural Resources Undersecretary Angela Barranco on multi-benefit infrastructure investments
CalChamber talks ag with California Department of Food and Ag Secretary
“California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross joined the California Chamber of Commerce last week to speak on important issues facing the state’s food and agriculture sector. The virtual event, “A Conversation on Issues Facing California Agriculture,” was held on May 10 and was moderated by President and CEO of Blue Diamond Growers, and CalChamber Immediate Past Chair Mark Jansen. In kicking off the event, Jansen announced that the CalChamber’s Agriculture Committee is being reformed as the Food and Agriculture Committee in order to focus on policy related to issues from the entire food process—from growing and distributing to transportation, packaging, retail and exports. The committee will be chaired by Chuck Ahlem, owner and operator of Hilmar Cheese Company, and Melissa Frank, senior counsel/director of government affairs for The Wonderful Company, will serve as vice chair. … ” Read more from the Valley Voice here: CalChamber talks ag with California Department of Food and Ag Secretary
DWR’s apprenticeship program celebrates 50 years of success
“Since the inception of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) Operation and Maintenance apprentice program in 1971, 581 apprentices have graduated from the program, which guarantees jobs as journey level electricians, mechanics, operators or utility craftsworkers at DWR facilities throughout the state. “For five decades, the DWR Apprentice Program has been the start of a rewarding career in the hydroelectric industry for many while providing DWR a workforce that is ready to run the State Water Project,” said David Duval, head of DWR’s Division of Operations and Maintenance. “The apprentices that work at SWP facilities throughout California and earn a career are key to the SWP being successful in providing a reliable water supply to more than 27 million Californians.” ... ” Read more from DWR News here: DWR’s apprenticeship program celebrates 50 years of success
Indigenous land management is the best answer to the wildfire crisis
“Last August, as yet another season of historic wildfires ripped through the West and sent plumes of smoke drifting across the continent, reporters and editors everywhere began asking a version of the same two basic questions: Why does this keep happening, and how did it get so bad? They published interviews with the usual suspects—firefighters, PhD-holders, and park employees, many of whom offered one of two basic answers: climate change and colonization. As the drought that’s dried out much of the West and Southwest has stretched into its second decade, lighter snowpacks in the winter have led to more arid summer seasons that are also growing increasingly hotter due in large part to carbon emissions. Only around the turn of the twenty-first century as the droughts and fires worsened did land and wildlife managers in the state and federal governments across the country start admitting that the practices American conservationists adopted over the past hundred years—including stringent fire suppression—were likely inferior to controlled burn techniques that Indigenous nations had spent thousands of years perfecting. ... ” Read more from The New Republic here: Indigenous land management is the best answer to the wildfire crisis
McCarthy and CA House Republicans highlight impact of drought in California and promote solutions
“Yesterday, Representatives Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes (CA-22), David Valadao (CA-21), Tom McClintock (CA-04), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Mike Garcia (CA-25), and Jay Obernolte (CA-08) highlighted the impact of the current drought on their communities and called for action during a House Committee on Natural Resources GOP forum on drought in California and the West. This event, which follows a letter sent by California House Republicans in April urging action on the drought in California, offered an opportunity to discuss topics like the importance of additional surface water storage, moving what limited water there is this year to those areas of California that need it most, and best practices for utilizing and conserving this critical resource. ... ” Read more of this press release at Congressman McCarthy’s website here: McCarthy and CA House Republicans highlight impact of drought in California and promote solutions
California’s 2021 drought: What’s happening now and what the water shortages mean for you
“In the Bay Area, most people get their water from big utilities that have lots of water, even during a drought. Your tap is not at risk of running dry. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and East Bay Municipal Water District, two of the region’s largest suppliers, have already said they’re likely to get by this summer without the need for water restrictions. They’re still urging conservation, however. Where Californians can expect sacrifices are in smaller communities that have less water in storage and fewer sources to turn to. Marin County’s main utility, which relies almost entirely on local rainfall, has told customers to limit outdoor water use, like washing cars. It’s the biggest water agency in the Bay Area so far to order mandatory cuts. ... ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: California’s 2021 drought: What’s happening now and what the water shortages mean for you
Two-thirds of California’s counties are in a drought emergency. Get used to it
“From a rise overlooking the unusually low San Luis Reservoir, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency for 39 of the state’s 58 counties on Monday. This was the second stop on his dry lake tour: Less than a month earlier, Newsom had stood on the cracked bottom of Lake Mendocino, a spot normally 20-feet underwater, and announced a drought emergency in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Not far from where he spoke in April, an early wildfire raged, where spring grasses had prematurely yellowed to tinder. “That’s unprecedented for this time of year, said Grant Davis, general manager of Sonoma Water, who spoke at the same lectern as Newsom that day. “We’ve had big fires three out of the last five years. Believe me this is climate change and extreme weather all rolled into one.” … ” Read more from Salon Magazine here: Two-thirds of California’s counties are in a drought emergency. Get used to it
Worsening Western drought forces states to shore up power grids
“Drought is tightening its grip on the West, and that could spell fresh trouble for the region’s power grids. Driving the news: Data released Thursday shows “exceptional drought,” the worst category, now extends across Napa, Sonoma and parts of the East Bay. All of California is in at least “moderate” drought after an unusually dry winter, despite having entered the wet season without severe short-term drought outside of the northern reaches of the state. Why it matters: With fresh memories of last summer’s record-shattering wildfire season, heat waves and power outages, officials in several states are trying to find ways to withstand the extreme events that are about to test the power grid anew. … ” Read more from Axios here: Worsening Western drought forces states to shore up power grids
The American West is bracing for a hot, dry and dangerous summer
“Water levels are running dangerously low in rivers, reservoirs, and aquifers across much of the American West, raising serious dangers of shortages, fallowed agricultural fields, and extreme wildfires in the coming months. Monitoring stations across California’s Sierra Nevada range are registering some of the driest conditions on record for this point in the year. High spring temperatures already mostly melted away this winter’s light snowpack, which usually supplies about a third of the state’s water. … All told, nearly 85% of the West is suffering through drought conditions right now, according to US Drought Monitor. Almost half the region is now in an extreme or exceptional drought, following years of dry, hot conditions aggravated by climate change. … ” Read more from the MIT Technology Review here: The American West is bracing for a hot, dry and dangerous summer
Balance pain of drought on farmers and fishermen equitably
John McManus. president of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, writes, “In the first week of May a young salmon boat captain struggled to keep his boat stable and fishing while getting bashed by an unruly spring wind storm near the San Mateo-Santa Cruz county line. Far offshore, where the continental shelf drops off and a huge volume of marine nutrients circulate from the ocean bottom to the surface, salmon gathered. So did borderline gale force winds on top of a 10-foot swell. It looked like the scene at the end of the movie, “The Perfect Storm.” You’re risking life and limb fishing in those conditions, and you wouldn’t in more normal times. But these aren’t normal times. … ” Continue reading at Cal Matters here: Balance pain of drought on farmers and fishermen equitably
Conservation policy must include more diverse voices
Marce Gutiérrez-Graudiņš, environmental justice advocate and the founder and director of Azul, writes, “I like to say that I used to sell the fish, and now I save them. Growing up blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border and the Pacific Ocean, I ended up working for an international seafood company at the start of my career. But that job carried a front-row seat to the growing problem of overfishing: daily scrambles to come up with hundreds of tons of fresh sardines to feed a dwindling number of Bluefin tuna tends to make a person question business-as-usual. Long months of research and soul searching brought me over to marine conservation. As a first-timer in the nonprofit sector, I stepped into a field where I was often the only person of color at the table — a systemic problem, as voices of color are key in the fight for a healthy ocean and equitable access. Yet, those key voices are often drowned out by other stakeholders. ... ” Read more from Cal Matters here: Conservation policy must include more diverse voices
Klamath irrigators group urges supporters to stop harassing government workers amid drought
“A group representing irrigators is urging its supporters to stop intimidating and harassing government workers. Mark Johnson of the Klamath Water Users Association says some people are posting personal information like phone numbers and home addresses online. “And that’s just unacceptable,” Johnson says. “It’s not their fault. I mean, they’re just doing as they’re told. They understand the hydrology and they’re just the messenger of the bad news.” … ” Read more from Jefferson Public Radio here: Klamath irrigators group urges supporters to stop harassing government workers amid drought
Ukiah’s secret weapon to outlast the drought: recycled sewage water
“With water supplies running low in communities around Mendocino, water managers across the county are encouraging users to reduce and reuse, but only one district is recycling, at least on a large scale. Most water districts in the county are preparing for or reacting to water shortages. But Ukiah still has water to go around. One reason for that is their water recycling program, which saves around 1,000 acre feet of water per year, and accounts for one-third of their total use. Historically, Ukiah used a mixture of Russian River water and aquifer water to supply the resources necessary for irrigation, municipal, and household uses. But in 2019, the city’s water recycling plant went online, adding a third source to the mix. … ” Read more from the Mendocino Beacon here: Ukiah’s secret weapon to outlast the drought: recycled sewage water
Eel River Recovery Project warns of Eel River “tipping point,” algae blooms (press release)
“The Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP) began its tenth year of water temperature gauge deployment on Sunday, May 10 and found signs of ecological stress caused by the 2020-2021 drought already. Reconnaissance started in Outlet Creek and followed in the Tenmile Creek watershed that surrounds Laytonville. Studies in the latter basin by ERRP related to flow are part of a California State Coastal Conservancy Prop 1 grant that also includes erosion control. The Sunday, May 10 survey began where Outlet Creek meets the main Eel River and proceeded upstream to the headwaters above Willits. ERRP Managing Director was joined by volunteer Phill Hosking. No fish were seen at the mouth, and only two steelhead or trout juveniles were seen at 11 sites visited. … ” Read more from the Mendocino Beacon here: Eel River Recovery Project warns of Eel River “tipping point,” algae blooms (press release)
Army Corps awards $10.8 million contract to complete Hamilton City levee improvements
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District awarded a $10.8 million construction contract to James Fisher Jr. Excavating of Willows on May 14 to complete levee improvements in Hamilton City. Construction on the remaining 1.25-mile-long section of setback levee for the Hamilton City Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project will begin immediately, and work is scheduled to be complete by this November, closing out nearly 7 miles of levee improvements. This final stretch of levee will be constructed from just south of the Irvine Finch Recreation Area boat ramp to approximately Dunning Slough. “This is an important project and the finish line is in sight,” said project manager Margaret Engesser. “Once this final levee segment is completed, Hamilton City will have the benefit of a modern engineered levee system that should serve the community for years to come.” Read more from the Army Corps here: Army Corps awards $10.8 million contract to complete Hamilton City levee improvements
How the drought is closing a popular Lake Tahoe summer activity
“Summer is going to look a lot different at Lake Tahoe. Boat ramps along the north and south shores are closed for the 2021 boating season as the lake drops to levels not seen since the last drought in 2015. “Due to below anticipated lake levels, the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area boat launch will not open to motorized vessels for the 2021 boating season,” officials said. ““Non-motorized crafts will have access to the launch.” … ” Read more from the Fresno Bee here: How the drought is closing a popular Lake Tahoe summer activity
‘Vampire Fish’ spotted twice in American River, suggesting its return to the area
“Apparently, vampires live under the water. An unusual-looking fish is apparently making a comeback in the American River. According to reports, multiple divers have spotted the animal in California. The divers spotted an animal known as the vampire fish (a pacific lamprey), Sacramento CBS reports. Both sightings reportedly occurred in the American River, a waterway that runs for 30 miles near Sacramento. … ” Read more from Fox News here: ‘Vampire Fish’ spotted twice in American River, suggesting its return to the area
Sonoma County, North Bay now considered to be in ‘exceptional drought’
“Nearly all of Sonoma County and large portions of neighboring counties are now classified by the U.S. Drought Monitor as “exceptional,” the worst of five categories for intensifying drought and a sign of deteriorating conditions in California’s North Bay region. The new classification comes as reservoir levels continue their decline and domestic and agricultural users along the upper Russian River brace for notices expected next week curtailing their rights to divert water. The designation appeared in the weekly map published Thursday by the Drought Monitor team, a partnership of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. … ” Read more from the Sonoma Press Democrat here: Sonoma County, North Bay now considered to be in ‘exceptional drought’
Parts of Bay Area suddenly in the very worst drought category. Here’s what that means
“A protracted lack of precipitation has landed swaths of the Bay Area in the worst drought category, according measurements released Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor. In just the past week, stretches of territory in the North Bay and East Bay deteriorated from the “extreme” category to the even more distressed “exceptional” tier, deepening concerns about environmental conditions on the cusp of what’s shaping up to be a long, dry summer. The “exceptional” drought category could bring about a particularly punishing wildfire season, widespread wildlife die-off, water shortages and poor air quality, among a list of potential environmental calamities. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Parts of Bay Area suddenly in the very worst drought category. Here’s what that means
The real history behind the myths and mystery of Stanford’s Searsville Lake
“Rohnert Park resident David Mattea remembers fondly when he was a boy in the 1970s, how his family would drive half an hour south to escape foggy Daly City. They would head to a place called Searsville Lake for some fun in the sun. When the weather was good, the man-made playground would regularly draw thousands of people from all over the Bay Area for water sports, summer camps, picnics and more. “Whatever became of Searsville Lake on the Peninsula?” Mattea wants to know. … ” Continue reading at KQED here: The real history behind the myths and mystery of Stanford’s Searsville Lake
Milpitas plans for water system improvements as California’s droughts worsen
“As California’s drought crisis intensifies year after year, Milpitas is projecting a 67 percent increase in water usage by 2040 as the city’s population grows. Sourced from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Valley Water, Milpitas in 2019 delivered approximately 8.3 million gallons of water per day to more than 16,000 homes and businesses. But in the next 20 years, city officials project that there will be 11,200 new homes and businesses, bringing Milpitas’ daily water consumption up to 13.4 million gallons. … ” Read more from the Milpitas Beat here: Milpitas plans for water system improvements as California’s droughts worsen
A Santa Cruz County drought conditions update: How are water restrictions affecting you?
“With the Scotts Valley Water District declaring a Stage 2 water shortage Wednesday, four of Santa Cruz County’s seven water districts are now under some form of water restrictions as drought conditions worsen across California. “This isn’t just the drought, this is climate change,” said Sierra Ryan, the county’s interim water resources manager. “This is the new way things are going to be.” Indeed, Ryan said, “Most agencies are in the same situation they were in last year, in terms of their drought restrictions. Really, not much changes [in Santa Cruz County] year to year in terms of our situation.” … ” Read more from lookout Santa Cruz here: A Santa Cruz County drought conditions update: How are water restrictions affecting you?
Tule River Tribe, city partner on new water plant
“The Tule River Tribe and the City of Porterville have partnered on a new tertiary water treatment plant as part of the construction of the new, relocated Eagle Mountain Casino near the Porterville Municipal Airport and Porterville Sports Complex. The water treatment plant will also improve the city of Porterville’s water quality. Another result of moving Eagle Mountain Casino and the development of the new tertiary water treatment plant is increased water quality for the Tule River Reservation. … ” Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: Tule River Tribe, city partner on new water plant
Cannabis operator, winemaker make peace in the Sta. Rita hills
“A cannabis operation along the Santa Ynez River in the fabled Sta. Rita Hills got a green light from the county Planning Commission this month with no opposition from surrounding vineyards, including Sanford, Lafond, and Sea Smoke, some of the most iconic names in the region. … But Marc Chytilo, a coalition attorney, said this week that the group would appeal to the county supervisors to deny the permit for 5645 Santa Rosa — not because of the smell the project may generate, but because of water supply concerns. The coalition contends that De Friel’s operation is dependent on wells supplied by subterranean “channels” from the Santa Ynez River — and the state Water Resources Control Board has banned the use of river water for cannabis between April 1 and October 31. … ” Read the full story at the Santa Barbara Independent here: Cannabis operator, winemaker make peace in the Sta. Rita hills
LADWP: LA’s water conservation efforts
“Thanks to our customers’ strong water saving ethic, and our investments in permanent water conservation measures, L.A.’s current per capita water use is among one of the lowest of any major U.S. city. Water use has dropped by 21 percent compared to the last major drought from 2012 through 2016. Despite more water supply due to wet winters, LADWP continues to offer incentives to help customers maintain waterwise habits and conserve. … ” Continue reading at LADWP here: LA’s water conservation efforts
What’s hiding in plain sight at Magic Johnson Park? Maybe a solution to our water problem
” … We need to be a lot smarter about capturing the rain we do get, much of which is flushed out to sea in chutes of concrete. It’s really a story of design — about the ways water is designed to travel along the surfaces of our city, and how we can begin to tweak those surfaces so that wecan hold on to that water rather than simply let it course through. And in this very Los Angeles story, there is one piece of infrastructure that tends to dominate the debate: our behemoth, 51-mile Los Angeles River, for which county supervisors are in the midst of producing a new master plan.But L.A. is finding other ways to capture and to store water. And in some cases, it is run-of-the-mill urban infrastructure that plays the starring role. Your neighborhood park? It might just be doing double duty as a critical aquifer. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: What’s hiding in plain sight at Magic Johnson Park? Maybe a solution to our water problem
“Newport Beach’s Banning Ranch, the largest undeveloped private coastal site in Southern California, moved closer this week to becoming a prized public nature preserve, potentially in a league with Upper Newport Bay, the Bolsa Chica wetlands and Torrey Pines State Reserve. After more than two decades of battling development proposals for the 401-acre parcel that abuts Pacific Coast Highway, environmentalists are celebrating the Thursday, May 20, announcement that the Trust for Public Land has reached an agreement with the landowner to purchase 384 acres of the site for $97 million. “This is historic,” said Guillermo Rodriguez, state director for the trust. “It’s a signal that this is real, that this is no longer a dream.” … ” Read more from the OC Register here: Banning Ranch takes key step toward becoming coastal nature preserve
Congressmen give IID one month to reply to project delay
“US Congressmen Raul Ruiz, M.D. and Juan Vargas, whose districts include the Salton Sea, have written letters dated May 20, addressed to the Imperial Irrigation District concerning the lack of progress on the Red Hill Bay Project (RHB). Red Hill Bay, located in Imperial County, used to be a prime bird-watching location within the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge before the Salton Sea began receding. The RHB project is a joint effort between the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Imperial Irrigation District. Permitting, planning, and design have been completed. … ” Read more from the Desert Review here: Congressmen give IID one month to reply to project delay
Should population shift force new Colorado River talks?
“The wild, wild West of water is coming to a head and Arizona looks to be on the losing end. Projections suggest that Lake Mead will be drawn down to its lowest level since Hoover Dam was completed, necessitating Tier 1 water restrictions by the end of the year. While Arizona and Nevada water users will see even greater cutbacks under the restrictions to their Colorado River allocations, California will maintain unfettered access to the massive water system. For farmers with access to the federal Central Arizona Project, this means the irrigation taps will be turned off once Lake Mead falls to 1,075 feet in surface elevation. Results of the curtailment of surface water to central Arizona farms are predictable. Like their California neighbors facing similar water cuts, Arizona farms will either go without or face having to pump from dwindling aquifers. ... ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Should population shift force new Colorado River talks?
Salt River Project reactivates underground water storage facility as drought persists in Arizona
“Salt River Project has reopened its underground water storage system after a year of being closed, as 99% of the state is experiencing some level of drought. The Granite Reef Underground Storage Project is one of the state’s largest water banking facilities. It stores about 40,000 to 50,000 acre-feet per year. “The amount of water we’ve stored at GRUSP is over a million acre-feet, which is equal to 17 Saguaro Lakes,” said Christa McJunkin, Director of Water Strategy at SRP. … ” Continue reading at Fox 10 News here: Salt River Project reactivates underground water storage facility as drought persists in Arizona
Commentary: Lake Mead could be in a Tier 2 shortage by 2023. What’s that mean for Arizona?
Columnist Joanna Allhands writes, “Lake Mead’s water levels are heading the wrong way and going there alarmingly fast. If the forecast holds, it’s now likely that we will fall into a more severe Tier 2 shortage by 2023, spreading painful cuts to even more water users in Arizona. That nugget of bad news comes from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s 24-month study, which is updated each month to predict reservoir conditions for the next two years. In April, the projection was that Lake Mead – the reservoir that provides nearly 40% of Arizona’s water – would most certainly be in a Tier 1 shortage in 2022 but would miss the Tier 2 cutoff for 2023 by three-tenths of a foot. … ” Read more from the Arizona Republic here: Commentary: Lake Mead could be in a Tier 2 shortage by 2023. What’s that mean for Arizona?
Declining Lake Powell levels prompt Colorado River states to form new plan
“Declining levels at the second-largest reservoir in the U.S. have spurred officials in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico to search for ways to prop it up. Lake Powell on the Colorado River is dropping rapidly amid one of the southwestern watershed’s driest years on record. It’s currently forecast to be at 29% of capacity by the end of September — the lowest level since the reservoir first started filling in 1963. Its sister reservoir downstream on the Colorado River, Lake Mead, is also approaching a record low this year. … ” Read more from KUNC here: Declining Lake Powell levels prompt Colorado River states to form new plan
Upper Division States and Reclamation to begin development of drought response operations plan
“On May 14, 2021, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) released its May 24-Month Study (and accompanying narrative) showing the elevation of Lake Powell declining to 3,525.57 feet as early as March 2022 under the Most Probable hydrology forecast. The 24-Month Study is released monthly and projects Lake Powell elevations 24 months into the future. Lake Powell is currently at an elevation of 3,560.60 feet and is approaching its lowest recorded level since the reservoir began filling in the early 1960s. … Under the 2019 Drought Response Operations Agreement between Reclamation and Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, the May 24-Month Study signals the need for the parties to begin the development of a drought response operations plan to reduce the likelihood of Lake Powell dropping below 3,525 feet. Such a plan would first consider the operational flexibilities at Lake Powell, consistent with existing legal and operational constraints. … ” Continue reading at the Upper Colorado River Commission here: Upper Division States and Reclamation to begin development of drought response operations plan
River ecologists are eager to show how beavers are critical to improving watersheds in the West
“Beavers, known for their work ethic, tenacity and sometimes destructive instincts, are making a comeback in the worlds of science and water as researchers look for natural ways to restore rivers and wetlands and improve the health of drought-stressed aquifers. “The concept of beavers and their ability to restore streams is not new,” said Sarah Marshall, an ecohydrologist at Colorado State University’s Colorado Natural Heritage Program who has been studying these semi-aquatic rodents for years. “Now we have a body of groundwater and sediment capture studies that have really resonated with folks who are managing water, especially with these nagging problems of drought and earlier snowmelt.” … ” Read more from the Colorado Sun here: River ecologists are eager to show how beavers are critical to improving watersheds in the West
“Frank Picozzi, the mayor of Warwick, Rhode Island, wants $10 million to replace water and sewer pipes. In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards floated the idea of $300 million for water and sewer infrastructure. Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky is putting $250 million into upgrading his state’s water systems and connecting rural residents to clean drinking water. These potential investments are made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act, a coronavirus relief package that includes substantial sums for public works. Even as President Biden stumps for a multitrillion-dollar standalone infrastructure bill — a proposal that includes $111 billion to remove lead pipes, upgrade rural water systems, and clean up toxic PFAS chemicals — the American Rescue Plan is a windfall of its own. … ” Read more from the Circle of Blue here: Congress’s stealth water infrastructure deal
Mankind’s damage to freshwater biodiversity could take millions of years to heal
“A new study released Friday details the massive scope of human-driven biodiversity loss among freshwater ecosystems — and the millions of years it will likely take to reverse the damage. Scientists and environmental experts the world over have made it clear that Earth is facing a biodiversity crisis like no other. Countless species across the planet — from the giant pandas of China to the blue whales of the ocean — have found themselves on the brink of extinction, with much of the blame resting squarely at the feet of human impact. ... ” Read more from Civil Engineering Source here: Mankind’s damage to freshwater biodiversity could take millions of years to heal
Farm Credit CEOs discuss emerging opportunities to finance resilient agriculture
“Climate change is already impacting farmers, both through extreme weather events and more variability in temperature, rainfall and pests. At the same time, farmers and the broader agricultural system can provide climate solutions and build resilience to reduce climate-related risk. This dual opportunity has implications for the entire agricultural system, including the agricultural lenders who finance farms. Loans are essential for many farmers, and agricultural lenders offer credit for land, equipment or annual expenses such as seed and other inputs. Forty-one percent of U.S. agricultural debt, approximately $150 billion, is provided by the Farm Credit System. Farm Credit is cooperatively owned, and its lending associations provide loans directly to half a million farmers across the country. … ” Read more from EDF’s Growing Returns here: Farm Credit CEOs discuss emerging opportunities to finance resilient agriculture
The Natural Resources Conservation Service produces this weekly report using data and products from the National Water and Climate Center and other agencies. The report focuses on seasonal snowpack, precipitation, temperature, and drought conditions in the U.S.
SCIENCE NEWS: Adventures in Bay-Delta data; Survival of migrating juvenile salmon depends on stream flow thresholds; Effects of artificial lighting on salmon survival; Steelhead workshop summary now available; and more …
About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.